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Vienna in the Age of UncertaintyScience, Liberalism, and Private Life$
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Deborah R. Coen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226111728

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226111780.001.0001

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The Pigtail of the Nineteenth Century

The Pigtail of the Nineteenth Century

Determinism in the 1880s

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter Four The Pigtail of the Nineteenth Century
Source:
Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226111780.003.0005

This chapter reports the age of scientific determinism. The most widely cited response to the education ministry came from the eminent Graz psychologist Alexius Meinong. Meinong had been a student of Franz Brentano. Brentano was a sympathetic figure to Austria's newly powerful liberals. Franz Exner's concept of the “humanistic” value of science study reemerged at the center of a new Austrian pedagogical movement. Karl Exner addressed the ministry's “Instructions” as an authority on the Gymnasium physics curriculum. Meinong and Höfler's program for teaching students to distinguish “evident” knowledge from mere possibility was one answer to the liberals' problem of steering between dogmatism and skepticism. Adolf Exner was arguing that probabilistic science was a model of reasoning fit for training the future leaders of a liberal state. Adolf's probabilistic model of rationality evoked the liberal culture of the Sommerfrische, with its celebration of the peasant's experiential knowledge of nature.

Keywords:   scientific determinism, education ministry, Franz Exner, Karl Exner, Adolf Exner, Alexius Meinong, Franz Brentano, Höfler, liberal culture, Sommerfrische

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